“The next time you come to Bandung, contact us and we’ll go for a ride around town or maybe even further. There are only women in this group. So, if you say ‘No’, there’s something wrong with you!” one of the members of Nu Gareulis Ngagowes (NGN) cheekily told us guys. Needless to say, we’ll definitely hook up with them in our next trip to Bandung. Yeah, NGN (loosely translated from Sunda dialect: ‘pretty ones cycling’) consists of avid female cyclists who love the freedom on unmotorised two wheelers. Founded ini January last year, it now has about 150 members, and is growing. The youngest member is eight years old while the most senior ones are their 60s. NGN leader, Dewi Gilang Kurnia said the idea was formed after she and a few female cycling enthusiast friends decided to form a group to (safely) do outdoor recreational activities together. “Many of our members ride bicycles to their respective workplaces. I do it too, sometimes… a 20km journey, one way,” she proudly proclaimed. Respect!
Cycling Asia was actually supposed to do a late afternoon ride with them around Bandung but minutes before the ride, the dark skies couldn’t hold itself together any longer and poured onto city. It really, really poured. That was quite sad. So, we decided to do a photo shoot under a flyover, flanked on both sides by very busy rush hour traffic in jalan Prabu Dimuntur, much to the amusement of local motorists. The women were very obliging in repeating their poses and a few metres of ‘ride-bys’, where they made our disappointment for not being able to ride with them disappear. Since the wheather did not show much mercy to us and it was already getting dark (some of the women by now have only an hour or so for us before going home), we decided to adjourn to an interview-cum-dinner at the Abuba Steak restaurant metres away from the flyover. By now, we’ve completely forgotten about the ride that didn’t materialise. To have dinner with so many women at one go RARELY happens to us these days. Usually, we’re surrounded with mud-caked-bruised, bloodied, sweaty and tired men, we have to sadly admit.
Nice mix of wheels, they have
Although the photos here scream “folding bike gang!”, that’s not the case. Most of NGN members with us that evening were actually from works and they either keep their bikes in the office, car or rode to work on that particular day–and foldies are the popular choice. “We do have MTBs, road bikes and other types of bicycles in our group. NGN doesn’t care what bicycles its members ride. As long as it’s a woman and she loves cycling, she can join us!” said Dewi, who added that the gang try to get together on Sundays for a ride or on other public holidays, such as the NGN’s favoured–the ‘Kartini Day’ (An Indonesian national holiday on April 21 celebrates the life of prominent Javanese and Indonesian heroine, Raden Ayu Kartini or sometimes known as Raden Adjeng Kartini (1879-1904). She’s known as a pioneer in the area or Indonesia’s women’s rights, among others.)
“Our rides could be to anywhere near or far. We do off-roading too, of course.” We also found out that cycling is not the only outdoor activity the women of NGN do. Jogging, jungle trekking, rock climbing and mountaineering are some of the other things they fancy. We are very impressed. We are very sure that many of them are waaaay tougher than us here at Cycling Asia. We felt so safe that evening…
A big “Thank You” form Cycling Asia to the women of NGN who, despite their busy schedules–families waiting at home, especially–made time to talk and share with us their passion an love for cycling. We’ll definitely get in touch with them the next time we are in Bandung, good weather or otherwise. See you again, ladies!
# To our female readers, you can write to the women of NGN at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to ride around Bandung or need advise about cycling in Bandung.
NB: Tulisan ini dimuat di Majalah Cycling Asia (words by Azlan Ramli, photo by Mohd. Mokhriz Aziz) – August 2011